As part of the year-long celebration of Fredericksburg's 175th Anniversary, two special art exhibits were displayed. Both exhibits have now ended, but you can learn more about Fredericksburg's deep art roots. Additionally, Fredericksburg's deep German heritage continues to shape the town's story today. See all of the ways you can spot Fredericksburg's history when visiting. 

The Art of Fredericksburg: 175 Years

Print by Charles Beckendorf of a Hill Country homestead with bluebonnets

On display from May 8 through September 19, 2021, this free and open to the public exhibit, hung in the temporary exhibit hall at the George H.W. Bush Gallery at the National Museum of the Pacific War

Featuring more than 60 pieces of original art from nearly 30 artists throughout Fredericksburg's history, the exhibit includes original sketches, oil paintings and watercolors. These works of art were on loan from major institutions and museums across Texas as well as from private collections. 

Works include mid-1800 pieces from Richard Petri and Hermann Lungkwitz, German-born early Fredericksburg settlers, and Seth Eastman, an U.S. Army officer and illustrator, stationed at Fort Martin Scott and commissioned by the U.S. Congress to record Native American life. 

Other artists featured included Buck Schiwetz, Lee Ethel, John McClusky and Charles Beckendorf. Current active artists included John Hanna, Nancy Bush, Phil Bob Borman and others. 

The exhibit also included sculptures from John Bennett and Jonas Perkins. Bennett was a designated Texas State Artists by the Texas Legislature in 2010 and presented a full-clay of Lady Bird Johnson, while Perkins showed a clay bust of "Schatzie" Crouch. 

Father Peter Tarillion, a former priest from St. Mary's Catholic Church, was another artist featured. While at the parish, he painted three large paintings which originally hung in the Marionkirche. Only two of his works remain today- one of the Crucifixion and one of St. Joseph. Part of this project included professional restoration work on these early paintings

Lee Ethel's Fredericksburg

Lee Ethel print

Pioneer Museum and the Gillespie County Historical Society sponsored a special art exhibition featuring painting and archival sources from Fredericksburg artist Lee Ethel. The exhibit, "Lee Ethel's Fredericksburg: The Artist's Paintings and Archival Sources" was displayed at Appretiare Fine Art, 237 W. Main St., from May 7 through September 15, 2021. 

More than 40 paintings on loan from private collectors and corresponding archival photographs from the Gillespie County Historical Society's permanent collection were included. The exhibit was open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sponsored events included a presentation of Lee Ethel's art, life and legacy given by Lee Ann Whatley, curator of the exhibition and granddaughter of the artist. A panel discussion on the historical and community impact of Ethel's artwork was presented by historians, including Dr. Donald Frazier, director of the Texas Center at Schreiner University in Kerrville. 

A special children's educational scavenger hunt was offered during the summer in conjunction with the exhibit. Children received a card with images and then had to search the exhibit to find them all. After participating, they received a small gift. Those interested could participate during gallery hours, Monday-Saturday, 9 4 p.m.

Ethel was a professional graphic designer in Dallas before retiring to Fredericksburg with his wife Betty in 1973. He focused on developing his story of painting and documenting the historic and iconic architecture of Fredericksburg. Ethel researched and accurately portrayed houses, public buildings, street scenes and festivals of Fredericksburg, capturing the spirit and history. Ethel's wife, Betty, donated the artist's working materials to the Gillespie County Historical Society's permanent collection in 1998. 

All exhibits followed COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Historic Building at Marktplatz in Fredericksburg, TX

The history of Fredericksburg stretches back over 175 years as German immigrants made the decision to settle in Texas...

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The history of Fredericksburg stretches back over 175 years as German immigrants made the decision to settle in Texas...

Learn More